On May 15, 2019, within the frames of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum (SPBILF), the International and Comparative Law Research Center organized a discussion session on Evidentiary Privileges in International Courts and Tribunals.
The topic of the discussion is of both theoretical and practical importance. It is particularly relevant in view of the increasing number of disputes involving the Russian Federation. Participants of the discussion touched upon various aspects related to evidentiary privileges in international courts and tribunals.
Roman Khodykin, moderator of the session, gave an introductory speech and talked in general about the existing types of evidentiary privileges, as well as nature of their occurrence. Being a human right specialist, Marie-Benedict Dembour in her presentation focused on issues of burden of proof and adverse inferences in relation to human rights disputes in regional human rights courts. Having extensive experience in international disputes both as a judge/arbitrator and as a consultant to the parties, with a view to basic principles of international process Tullio Treves raised several questions related to document production in State-to-State proceedings in the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. In continuation of the discussion Antoine Ollivier elaborated more specifically on practice of the International Court of Justice, in particular, the case of Timor-Leste v. Australia, considering the right of States to the privacy of its interactions with legal consultants (legal professional privilege). Basing analysis on the WTO dispute resolution practice, Louise Wichmann talked about approach of the Dispute Resolution Body towards lawyer-client privilege, confidentiality of parties’ preliminary consultations, including terms of a settlement offer, as well as towards privilege against the use of official statements made by State, which might be contrary to its interests, in resolution of disputes. Summing up the discussion, Sergey Usoskin focused on the question of whether there are general principles for application of the institute of lawyer-client privilege in international courts and tribunals.
Video of the discussion session is available on the SPBILF website https://spblegalforum.ru/ru/Video.
See the full photo report at https://spblegalforum2019.tassphoto.com/album/53